Comments for Howl-O-Scream 2013 details dug up as Busch Gardens Tampa retires Dark Side of the Gardens, buries old haunted houses


  1. Tryg

    Hmm, I really liked Sylvie. To me she was the most memoreable icon and while her backstory may have been a little lame, I really liked the fact that they did an entire music video for her.

  2. John Urban

    I have worked at Howl-O-Scream for 6 years and loved the My X theme. I got to know Kelly Riot who played Sylvie and she was awesome, like a modern day Joan Jet. I performed as a werewolf that year in the Road Trip scare zoned and heard her fong looped over and over again each night for weeks and never got tired of them. But retrospect instead of how sexy she was they probably should have made her more shock rock goth or maybe had her be dead and a living dead zombie rocker chick. That might have been scarier.

  3. David

    Have to disagree w/ them on Sylvie as well…Still my favorite HOS! Although I’m a fan of rock music so I might be a bit biased. I was impressed at the level of craftsmanship that was put into making her a believable character. They went to the trouble of getting an actual rock musician for the part, getting her a band, as well as coming up w/ original music and videos. Most of all, she was a change from the traditional halloween themes. I applaud them for doing something different. I guess a specific theme like that only appeals to a specific audience therefore hurting ticket sales… but the people who it appealed to LOVED it!

    1. Ricky Brigante

      The band, the songs, Sylvie herself – they like all those (as did I). But as a Halloween icon… not so much. She wasn’t scary. And more importantly, her haunted house was bad.

  4. JohnR

    I wanted to say first of all that I’ve been going four years straight, and with the exception of the wonderful ‘Alone’, I thought 2012 was the worst year yet. To me the ‘Dark Side of the Garden’ was way too generic and tantamount to having no theme at all. Glad to see they seem to be back on track this year with the ’13’ theme.

    Concerning the ‘My X’ theme, Kelly Riot was hot and I liked her music and the mini-concert, but I agree with what the Busch staff said about how Sylvie’s story was kind of half-baked and never full realized beyond the ad campaign. My guess is they busted their budget with the pre-event publicity stunt and had little money left to develop her story.

    I thought the best theme was the ‘House of Vayne’ back in 2009.

  5. Eric

    I’ve been to all of the years till 2008.
    2008- Raven Twins: I loved the icons and everything was perfect. I loved 2008.
    2009- House of Vayne: I loved the icon but I couldn’t go.
    2010- MYX: I didn’t really like the icon but the theme was cool. There Myx Rocks house was not scary but it was super fun. I liked the scarezones.
    2011- Dark Side of the Gardens: I loved it. The zombies were amazing. I loved everything. The only thing I didn’t like was when they took away the scarezones.
    2012- Trickster Dark Side Of The Gardens: Literally the same exact thing as 2011. I hated it because it felt like i’ve already been to it. The Circus house was not scary and no. Worst year. They even used the same props.
    2013- 13- So excited. This is the year that will determine If I will continue to go to HOS or HHN. The theme though looks amazing. Hopefully it is.

    1. JohnR

      Since you mentioned Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, Busch’s main competitor for our Halloween dollars, I felt compelled to say: Yeah, it’s hard for Busch to compete with Universal’s big budget hi-tech houses that are usually very good. Having said that, when you take in to account Universal’s generally higher price tag, the trip from Tampa to Orlando (and especially the late-night drive home), and the mind-bogglingly huge crowds that mob Universal for HHN, I think dollar-for-dollar the Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream is a better deal. I would also add that Busch’s mostly low-tech approach has a certain charm to it, and I actually think they do many of the peripheral things (vendors, scare zones, etc.) better than Universal.

      I do agree though that last year’s ‘Other Side of the Garden’ left me with a bit of a been there, done that feeling, but I’m jazzed about what I’ve been reading on ’13’ and definitely looking forward to this Friday. Hopefully it will be the best year yet.

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